Volunteer firefighters needed in Cape Breton, say chiefs
'Anybody that’s out there that's thinking about it, don't think any more, come join us'
Volunteer fire departments in Cape Breton say they’re in need of help, and some have put out a "help wanted" sign hoping to attract volunteers in the community.
A serious house fire in Georges River last week that sent two volunteer firefighters to hospital highlighted the need for more volunteers, said Travis Briand, fire chief in Georges River.
More than 50 volunteers from five departments responded to the fire in his community last Friday.
"Anybody that’s out there that's thinking about it, don't think any more, come join us," he said.
"Without the volunteer firefighters now in the system, we would have nothing. The municipality can't afford to keep or pay the upwards of, probably, 600 volunteer firemen that are in the CBRM right now."
Lloyd MacIntosh, North Sydney's fire chief, said recruiting new members has become difficult.
"Getting volunteer firefighters in this day and age is getting harder. It's not easy to do and getting them to stay is even harder. People will come on, wanting to do a good thing, be of service to their community, and what happens is, they realize that the commitment is too great and some people leave for those reasons," he said.
MacIntosh said it's a very rewarding volunteer position with many benefits, such as training, a tax break and a stipend, in some cases. But he said what they're really looking for is someone who wants to serve their community
"We're looking for people that are 19 years of age or older, and people that have a big heart and understand the job at hand," said MacIntosh.
The chiefs say anyone interested should drop by a fire station or call their local volunteer fire station.